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Knowledge > Ignorance: Five Tips to Be HIV-Smart.

If you're wondering if you should get an HIV test, the answer is Yes.

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day.  The federal government urges everyone age 13 to 64 to get tested at least once.  Over-the-counter HIV tests aren't far off, but in the meantime...

1. If you're in a longtime, committed relationship, and you think you don't need to be tested, you're may be right. If you have any doubts at all (past or present), testing is free, fast and pain-free.

2. If you truly believe you don't need to be tested, talk to a girlfriend who does and accompany her to the test site. To find a testing site near you, type your zip code into this locator, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO or text your zip to KNOW IT (566948).

*If you're really feeling bold, talk to your Momfriends about tests for their sexually active teens.

3. Planning to tweet about your adventure in responsible adulthood? Use hashtag #NHTD.

4. HIV is spread when infected bodily fluids are transferred from one person's body to another's:  Blood, breast milk, semen AND any fluid that appears pre-ejaculation.  Use a condom every time with an appropriate lubricant.

5. Wondering if you're at risk? In some ways, we all are.

More than 200,000 Americans DON'T KNOW that they have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. That works out to about 1 of every 5. Yep. If you think "1 of every 5" is an impressive number of NotMoms, it's a scary number of clueless, infected men and women. You probably can't tell by looking at their faces, their bodies, or even their private parts.

From middle schools to assisted living, HIV is out there. Doubt it if you dare. Get tested. Depending on your lifestyle, make testing as routine as an annual Pap smear.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Evan Hammersmith June 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Tip #6. Remain abstinent until marriage. It works every time.
Paxton Crenshaw June 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM
...but should you change your mind on this, please refer back to tip #4.
Karen Malone Wright June 29, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Wow. Before I could get back to the keyboard, an important comment was removed. Tim, thank you for posting much of what I would have written. The reason Winston's comment was important was because it seemed to illustrate both the ignorance and the "it's your fault, so tough noggins" thinking that challenges the work of HIV/AIDS educators. And Evan, abstaining from sex before marriage won't protect a woman from a) a cheating spouse b) a drug-using spouse c) a spouse on the "down low" who secretly has sex with men d) a spouse returning from incarceration.
Evan Hammersmith June 29, 2012 at 02:04 PM
agree. I should have clarified my statement: abstain from sex before marriage, and remain faithful once married. Working well for me. I know it's rare, but it's worth noting that it's fool proof.
Michelle Simakis June 29, 2012 at 02:47 PM
That's exactly what I thought about Winston's comments, Karen. But because his comments were also offensive, they violated our terms of use so we had to delete them. There was a debate among Patch editors about this, though.

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